The quest for a sub-2 hour marathon (and the shoes it spawned) has grabbed quite a few headlines, but that’s far from the only record pro runners are hustling to break. Last weekend, a group of American and Japanese ultrarunners gathered to attempt another impressive feat: smash the current men’s and women’s 100K records (roughly 62 miles). Although they weren’t able to crack those two records, one athlete, American ultrarunner Jim Walmsley, managed to break a different one. He set a new 50-mile record with a time of 4:50:08, shattering the previous benchmark by an incredible 43 seconds.
Walmsley’s record-setting run was part of the Project Carbon X, a 100K record attempt sponsored by running shoe company HOKA ONE ONE. The event was staged to promote HOKA’s new Carbon X racing shoe, and all the participating athletes wore them while running. Walmsley, along with seven other runners, traversed a 100K road course from Folsom, California, to Sacramento on Saturday morning in their dash to set new records (the men’s time to beat is 6:09:14; the women’s is 6:33:11). Hideaki Yamauchi of Japan won Saturday’s race with a time of 6:19:54, and Walmsley finished with a time of 6:55:24—but by blazing through the first 50 miles of the race, he nabbed a different record.
Walmsley already has a few FKTs under his belt. In 2018, he set course records at the Western States Endurance Run and the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. He’s also been named “Ultrarunner of the Year” by Ultrarunning Magazine three years in a row. But the Carbon X run was a little different than his usual races, since it took place entirely on the road.
“My passion and love of running is rooted in the trails; however, road ultras have a history that excites me,” Walmsley said in a press release.
As for the Carbon X shoe, it’s HOKA’s answer to ultra-light racing shoes—like Reebok’s Floatride Run Fast Pro and Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly, the latter of which Eliud Kipchoge wore in his record-breaking London Marathon finish in April. Although HOKA is known for well-cushioned shoes that err on the heavier side, the Carbon X combines the company’s signature plush ride in a lightweight (read: fast) package for runners looking to set new PRs—and possibly clock some new records along the way.
The new kicks go on sale on May 15 at hokaoneone.com and select retailers June 1.